10 INDIGENOUS STRUGGLES: Canadian climate and environmental activists should support

Canadian climate and environmental activists should support


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In 2009, Indigenous communities throughout the world called for a global mobilization “In Defence of Mother Earth” on October 12, 2010, reclaiming “Columbus Day” and transforming colonial holidays into days of action in solidarity with Indigenous peoples.
Responding to this call and the demand for a day of action for ‘system change, not climate change’ issued by the global movements gathered in Copenhagen last year, Climate Justice Action has organized a day of direct action for climate justice.

With increasing droughts, floods, natural disasters and the hottest summer on record behind us, ever more Canadians are realizing the present and future peril of climate change. But our political and economic system has locked us into dependency on infinite economic growth. It produces elites whose vision is pathologically short-sighted, rarely extending beyond the next financial quarter or electoral term.So rather than scale back, as we know we must, Canadian elites are presiding over a final stage of colonial resource pillage – a frantic grab for the dirtiest and hardest-to-extract fossil fuels and minerals in ever-harder-to-reach geographic zones. 

These new mines, oil wells, pipelines, swathes of clear-cuts and hydro-dams are almost always on or near unceded and treatied Indigenous territories. These sites of extraction have thus become sites of  resistance – because living and depending on these lands, Indigenous peoples are their first and fiercest defenders. And in the face of resource depletion, biodiversity loss, and climate chaos, their struggles are taking on vital importance.

Indigenous communities are resisting because their resistance protects and embodies alternatives – for sane resource management in Haida Gwaii, for conservation of watersheds in Gwich’in, for sustainable forestry in Barriere Lake, for imagining different relationships to the land from coast to coast to coast. Where polluting and carbon-emitting projects have been halted or delayed, minimized or regulated, we can usually thank Indigenous peoples. During these struggles, they have won a unique set of tools – Supreme Court precedents, constitutional rights, and international legal instruments – that establish a framework for self-determination and land restitution in Canada.

If these political victories are implemented on the ground, this could mean the reshaping of our geography. We need to encourage and welcome it. After all, who else is proposing to set up multi-generational institutions of responsible land stewardship? Certainly not our corporations. Who else is conceiving of human and environmental welfare in terms of the next seven generations? Not our politicians. What this means is that supporting Indigenous struggles will not just pay off Canada’s enormous moral and legal debt: it is also our best hope to save entire territories from endless and senseless extraction and destruction.

Where should we look for the courage and tenacity to save our burning and broken planet? Not in parliament, business chambers, or universities. You’ll find it on the blockades in Grassy Narrows, where they watch-over the longest-running blockades against clear-cut logging in Canadian history; on the lakes of Big Trout Lake, where they daringly maneuver boats to prevent company planes from landing to prospect for minerals; and on the international campaign trail with Fort Chipewyan, as they shame Canada for the poisoning of their people.

These ten Indigenous struggles, which could easily be twenty or thirty others, are challenging the status quo of fossil-fuel addiction and resource pillage in this country. Standing up to governments and corporations, struggling for their mountains, waters and climate, Indigenous communities deserve the support of everyone who cares about the health of our planet. As these communities battle to regain control over their lands, they struggle for us all.

::: 10 Indigenous Struggles that Canadian climate and environmental activists should support :::

Lubicon Lake (Alberta): The First Nation in northern Alberta has seen their traditional lands overrun by massive oil and gas exploitation which has destroyed their traditional lands and way of life. To protect their fragile boreal forest homeland from even greater depredation, the Lubicon have fought back to defend their land and lives by patiently building a global network of organizations and individuals to support their legal battles, boycotts, lobbying, negotiations with the Canadian government and – when all else failed – blockades. Despite 20 years of condemnation by United Nations human rights bodies, the right of the Lubicon people to maintain their culture and rebuild their society is still not respected by the federal and provincial governments and industry. They have been subject to economic sabotage and draconian internal interference. And even more destructive forms of development – including oil sands extraction – are planned for the future. www.lubicon.org/

Grassy Narrows (Ontario): Mercury contamination of their river system in the 1960s by a paper mill upstream devastated their economy, plunging the community into extreme poverty from which it has never fully recovered. After  decades of petitions, letter writing, speaking tours, environmental assessment requests, and protests failed to halt the destructive clearcut logging of their traditional territory, grassroots women and youth put their bodies on the line and blocked logging trucks passing by their community. The blockades are  the longest running in Canadian history, now in their 8th year. 3 major logging corporations have bowed to pressure and committed not to log against the wishes of the community, and logging has been suspended on Grassy Narrows territory as of July 2008. But under pressure from corporate lumber giant Weyerhaeuser, the province appears ready once again to give the green-light to logging in the fall of 2010.  The community is determined to prevent this. www.freegrassy.org

Pimicikamak (Manitoba):  Five hundred kilometres north of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the Pimicikimak Cree have been struggling against the consequences of hydro-electric damming on their lands. The dams have turned pristine rivers into power corridors, ancient lakes into holding tanks and a sacred homeland into an industrial complex. Manitoba Hydro company promised clean and green development when they and two levels of government signed a 1970s agreements with Manitoba indigenous communities. Pimicikamak is now fighting to force Manitoba Hydro to live up to its treaty commitments and to restore their lands and waters. The community is teaching us that hydro development, far from being a panacea for climate change,  harms lands and Indigenous peoples, and also destroys the boreal forest, the world’s largest terrestrial carbon reservoir, causing the release of global-warming methane gas. www.pimicikamak.com/

Wet’suwet’en (British Columbia): Located near the town of Smithers in central interior British Columbia the Wet’suwet’en First Nation is currently engaged in a struggle to stop several oil and gas pipeline from being built across their traditional territory. Grassroots community organizers have taken a stance against not only the pipelines, but the entire tar sands giga-project, working in solidarity with other frontline communities and solidarity activists against “refineries, terminals, tanker traffic, and the systemic scope that is Carbon Marketing, Offsetting, and REDDS.” http://on.fb.me/bekx2K

Gwich’in (Northwest Territories): The Gwich’in, whose traditional territory overlaps with the Peel Watershed Region – a 68,000 square kilometer stretch of land near the Northeastern edge of the Yukon – are fighting mining corporations and the provincial government for total protection of their traditional territories. Mining companies currently hold over 8,400 mining permits in the watershed, five tributaries that make up North America’s largest network of mountain rivers. The Peel Watershed Planning Commission has called for 80 per cent protection that maintains grandfathered leases, but local communities are working for the full protection of their lands. http://www.thebigwild.org/act/peel

Baker Lake (Nunavut): Baker Lake, a mostly Inuit community in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut, has a long history of struggles against uranium mining and exploration.  In the late 1970s,  legal action was taken against the Canadian Government and a variety of uranium exploration companies.  In the late 1980s and early 1990s, they successfully fought against a proposal to mine uranium from the Kiggavik ore body, located on the post-calving grounds of caribou herds.  But the Aveva mining company still wants this ore, and ignoring community concerns about impacts on caribou, health and nuclear weapons development, have launched an aggressive public relations campaign. Feeling their views are not represented by the Inuit Organizations, Inuit from Baker Lake and elsewhere in Nunavut have formed Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit (Nunavummiut can rise up).

Barriere Lake (Quebec): The Algonquins of Barriere Lake continue to hunt, fish, trap, and harvest on more than 15,000 square kilometers of territory north of Ottawa in north-western Quebec, which they have sought to protect from clear-cut logging through a landmark conservation agreement. The 1991 Trilateral agreement undermines the Canadian government’s Comprehensive Claims policy, which forces First Nations to extinguish their unceded title to the land in exchange for paltry sums of lands and money. For this reason, the federal and provincial governments and multinational industry have conspired to avoid implementing the agreement, instead criminalizing the community and attempting to abolish their traditional governance system. The community attributes the strength of their Algonquin language, their culture, and their protection of the land to the endurance of this own governance system, the Mitchikanibikok Anishinabe Onakinakewin. www.barrierelakesolidarity.org

Innu (Quebec/Labrador): The Innu have for years been struggling against the exploitation of minerals, hydro-power, animals, and timber on their lands, and military low-level flying exercises and bomb testing. Today, some Innu communities are facing proposed plans to build the Lower Churchill Hydro Project, which would mean the construction of two hydroelectric dams on their territory, causing vast environmental devastation. The project is slated to flood 12% of the Lower Churchill Valley,  increase mercury levels in the water, and destroy some of the most diverse wildlife habitat in Labrador – home to black bear and caribou, among other animals. Since the traditional Innu way of life is based on  hunting and fishing, this project, if not stopped, will also affect the ability of the Innu to live their lives freely and choose their own ways of living.  http://www.indigenoussolidaritymontreal.net/struggles/fep

Tsilhqot’in (British Columbia): The Tsilhqot’in people have a long history of fierce resistance and independence. In 2007, they set an important precedent in the British Columbia court by proving their aboriginal title and rights to 2,000 square kilometres of their lands, potential supplanting provincial jurisdiction over land-use planning, but the federal and provincial have ensnared them in legal appeals. Today, they are confronting a proposal for an enormous open-pit gold-copper mine on their land. The mine would turn a lake that is sacred to the Tsilhqot’in and that holds 90,000 unique rainbow trout into a tailings dump, replacing it with an artificial lake. Some community members have pledged their life to stop it. http://teztanbiny.ca/

Bear River (Nova Scotia): The First Nation has their own vision for a food and livelihood fishery, based on a long historical relationship to the natural world that is premised on respect and self-sufficiency to avoid hunger and sickness for all people.  This relationship is known in the Mi’kmaq language as “Netukulimk”.   But the commodification and privatization of the commercial fishery sector continues unabated, leaving no room for community sustainable practice and knowledge. It has become clear to Bear River that these fishing agreements serve only to integrate First Nations into a commodification process, watering down their treaty rights. Bear River has chosen not to sign any fishing agreements with the federal government, continuing instead to pursue its vision of a small scale food and livelihood fishery by aligning themselves with other local non-Indigenous fishermen who have also been impacted by privatization and commodification, and by continuing to learn and practice “netukulimk”. http://www.defendersoftheland.org/bear_river

Defenders of the Land (National): This network of First Nations in land struggle working with urbanized Indigenous people and non-Native supporters in defense of Indigenous lands and rights was founded at a historic meeting in Winnipeg from November 12-14, 2008. Defenders is the only organization of its kind in the territory known as Canada – Indigenous-led, free of government or corporate funding, and dedicated to building a fundamental movement for Indigenous self-determination and rights. They have called for a second annual Indigenous Sovereignty Week, a series of educational events and action that took place last year in two dozen cities, towns and communities, between November 21-27, 2010. www.defendersoftheland.org

— Climate Justice Montreal is a collective of organizers and concerned people dedicated to building community resistance to the root causes of climate change —
We are part of the working committee to establish a Climate Justice Co-op. Find out more at https://climateactionmontreal.wordpress.com/www.climatejusticecoop.org


Le Camp Climatique prend la ville! – Climate Camp Takes the City!


Dimanche. 12 septembre. 2010

Le Camp Climatique prend la ville!

Location: Top Secret


Pour te rendre au Camp…


Rencontre de la masse critique @ 11 :30 a.m.

Carré Dominion

(Coin Peel et René Lévesque)


Rendez-vous à la station de métro Sherbrooke à 11:30 a.m.

Cherche du vert…

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=151795671513758

Fraîchement débarqués du camp climatique extraordinaire de cet été, nous mettons le cap sur la métropole pour une journée! Nous allons nous installer dans le coeur de Montréal afin de se réunir pour une journée d’ateliers, de discussions, de partage de connaissance, et pour affronter les vraies causes des changements climatiques.

Pourquoi est-ce que le Camp Climatique s’en vient en ville?

En septembre, le Congrès Mondial de l’Énergie aura lieu à Montréal. C’est une conférence de cinq jours, où des représentants des industries les plus polluantes et irresponsables vont se rencontrer les uns les autres avec des lobbyistes et représentants gouvernementaux, pour déterminer comment carburer NOTRE futur.

Derrière portes closes, des détenteurs d’intérêts partants des sables bitumineux jusqu’aux champs pétrolifères de l’Arabie Saoudite, des centrales nucléaires aux gaz de schiste et en passant par toutes les institutions financières et détenteurs de pouvoir gouvernementaux, seront assis ensemble pour maintenir la progression du statu quo. Il s’agit d’un rassemblement de « l ‘énergie » des mêmes forces politiques et financières, qui alimentent le chaos climatique et nous poussent vers des points de basculement catastrophique environnementaux, qui perpétuent guerres, pauvreté et inégalités sociales dans le processus.

Alors, qu’es-ce qu’on fait? On se rassemble pour  devenir le changement qu’il faut voir dans le monde.

En bref, nous sommes là pour reprendre le pouvoir. Viens faire un tour!

Organize par Climate Justice Montreal: www.climateactionmontreal.wordpress.com



Sunday. September 12. 2010
Climate Camp Takes the City!

Location: Top Secret



Meet up for a critical mass bike bloc @ 11:30 am
Square Dominion
(Corner Peel and René Lévesque)

Meet at Sherbrooke Station at 11:30 am
Look for green for further instructions

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=151795671513758
Fresh off this summer’s amazing Climate Camp, we’re headed back to the big city for a day! We will set up in the heart of Montreal to come together for a day of workshops, skill-shares, discussions and to challenge the root causes of climate change.

Why is Climate Camp coming to the big city?

This September, the World Energy Congress is setting up shop in Montreal, a five day conference where representatives of the worlds largest, dirtiest extractive industries meet with lobbyists, government officials and each other to determine how to power OUR future.

Behind closed doors interests from the tar sands to the oil fields of Saudi Arabia, from nuclear power plants to shale gas and all the financial and government power brokers in between, are sitting down together to keep business as usual moving. This is a coming together of the energy, political and financial forces that are fueling climate chaos, pushing us towards catastrophic tipping points, and perpetuating wars, poverty and social inequality in the process.

So what are we doing about it? Coming together and becoming the change we need to see in the world.

In short, we are here to Reclaim Power. Join in.

Organized by Climate Justice Montreal: www.climateactionmontreal.wordpress.com

Countdown to Climate Camp Quebec

Le Camp d’Action Climatique approche à grand pas et on est tous excités à l’idée de descendre à Dunham pour le montage.

Le site web à été updaté avec les outils de programmation, de covoiturage et une liste grandissante d’ateliers, de présentations, de projections et d’autres évènements super qui auront lieux au campement! Jettez un oeil là-dessus!

On rapelles que le Camp d’Action Climatique aura lieu du 7 au 23 août.Vous pouvez passer nous voir à nimporte quel moment, que ce soit pour quelques jours ou une après-midi. Les installations seront en place pour vous acceuillir, de la bouffe gratuite sera préparée, des ateliers seront présentés et un mouvement de masse sera continuellement en construction! Les jours de convergence (18-22 août) auront une programmation débordante (voir le site pour un  aperçu), alors venez voir ça et joignez-vous à nous !

À ce moment-ci on à aussi besoin de gens qui puissent faire de la traduction simultanée, de gens intéressés à faire du gardiennage d’enfant et de musiciens pour animer les soirée! Si vous connaissez des gens qui sont intéressé à partager leur talent musical, mettez les en contact avec nous à travers climateactionmtl@gmail.com.

SVP Prennez un moment pour joindre le groupe de facebook inviter vos amis et poster le Camp d’Action Climatique sur votre mur afin de passer le mot!

L’Équipe d’organisation du Camp d’Action Climatique


Climate Camp is fast approaching and we are all excited to get down to Dunham and get set up. The website has been updated with programming and ride-share tools and a constantly growing list of workshops, trainings, film screenings and other awesome events that are going down at the camp, check it out at http://www.uncampement.net!

In case you didn’t know yet, the camp runs from August 7-23, but that doesn’t mean you need to come for the whole thing, if you can make it for a few days, or just an afternoon please come down! The camp infrastructure will be in place for that entire time, churning out free food, hosting workshops and building a mass movement. The convergence days (August 18-22) will be near overflowing with programming (some of which you can already check out online), so come down and check it out!

Right now we are also in need of simultaneous translators, people interested in volunteering for childcare, and musicians to make the evening events and parties amazing. If you know anyone who may want to share their musical talents, get them in touch with us at climateactionmtl@gmail.com.

Please take a second to join up and invite your friends on facebook and post the Climate Camp event to your wall in order to keep spreading the word.

Potential Trailbreaker Segment Breaks in Illinois

This section of pipeline is in the exact location where the Trailbreaker project runs from Chicago to Sarnia, for more info on the Trailbreaker check out our full report on the project.

reposted from the Canadian Press

Pipeline to Sarnia spills oil into river

MARSHALL TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Crews were working Tuesday to contain and clean up more than three million litres of oil that poured into a creek and flowed into the Kalamazoo River in southern Michigan, coating birds and fish.

Authorities in Battle Creek and Emmett Township were warning residents about the strong odour from the oil, which leaked Monday from a 30-inch (76-centimetre) pipeline that carries about 8 million gallons (30 million litres) of oil per day from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ont.

Calgary-based Enbridge Inc.’s affiliate Enbridge Energy Partners LP of Houston estimated more than 800,000 gallons (about 3 million litres)of oil spilled into Talmadge Creek before the company could stop the flow. Enbridge crews and contractors deployed oil skimmers and absorbent booms to minimize its environmental impact.

“This is our top priority,” said Enbridge spokeswoman Gina Jordan. “We’re committed to containing the oil that has been spilled as quickly as possible.”

Enbridge and the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Management says the pipeline pumps were shut down as soon as the leak was discovered.

The foul-smelling spill has killed fish and endangered other wildlife.

As of Tuesday afternoon, oil was reported in about 16 miles (26 kilometre) of the Kalamazoo River downstream of the spill, Mary Dettloff, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

U.S. Representative Mark Schauer (D-Mich.), said he discussed the spill Tuesday with President Barack Obama at the White House. He called the spill a “public health crisis,” and said he plans to hold hearings to examine the response.

“The company was originally slow to respond and it is now clear that this is an emergency,” Schauer told reporters on a conference call.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Enbridge said it had about 150 employees and contractors working on the spill. Local, state and federal agencies also were involved.

The cause of the spill was under investigation. The oil spilled into the creek, which flows northwest into the river. The site is in Calhoun County’s Marshall Township, about 60 miles (96 kilometres) southeast of Grand Rapids.

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), said in a statement that his office has been in close contact with federal agencies to ensure that cleanup crews have the needed resources to complete the job as quickly as possible.

“For now, the focus is on limiting the damage and cleaning up the oil, Levin said. “It is also vitally important that the company responsible for the spill bear the costs of cleanup and that it compensate anyone who has suffered damages related to the spill.”

Emmett Township officials warned the public to stay away from the river until cleanup work is completed.

Stop The Flow of Destruction: A New Publication from CJM

Check out our newest publication! With all the information you could want or need about this summer’s Climate Action Camp, as well as primers on Climate Justice, the Tar Sands, the Trailbreaker pipeline, and much much more!

Download it here!

Version francais disponsible bientot!

On Toronto: A CJM reportback and statement on the G20 resistance

Two weeks ago, Climate Justice Montreal mobilized to stand in solidarity with our allies on the streets of Toronto.  From June 18th, organizers with CJM were involved with holding workshops at the People’s Summit, working with the Alternative Media Center, and each day, with thousands of others, challenging the policies of the G8 and G20.  Many of us were involved in helping climate, environmental and mining justice activists plan the Toxic Tour and People’s Assembly on June 23.

We were also subject to a week of constantly escalating police repression. We were illegally searched, detained, and helped contribute to the size-able collection of bandannas now owned by the Toronto Police Department.

By the end of Saturday, the majority of us had been arrested, few among the over 1000 people picked up in arbitrary sweeps.  We spent hours in the East Avenue detention center, with minimal access to food and water.

But that is not what is most important.

In Toronto we joined with our sisters and brothers from across a broad spectrum of resistance that CJM had never experienced. The bonds that were forged on those streets will continue to motivate and fuel our campaigns in Montreal, and with our allies across Canada and the world.

Today, many of those comrades remain in custody.  They are being criminalized for their dissent, turning their disagreement with the programs of the Canadian and other governments into a crime.

This attack, similar to the kind that our colleagues in environmental struggle have faced for years in the US under the “Green Scare” campaign, is a message to organizers: challenge the system and it will snap back.

But this attack also means another thing, we are gaining ground.  Our campaigns against the programs and measures touted by G8 and G20 leaders – programs that sacrifice people, freedom and our planet – are winning.

Climate Justice Montreal pledges to support those still in jail until each and every political prisoner has been freed, but we also pledge to keep fighting.

We will continue to work to shut down the Trailbreaker project once and for all.
We will continue to work in solidarity with our allies, especially those from frontline communities, for climate justice and against the tar sands.
We will continue to fight to stop the destruction of our planet by corporations and democratically deficient governments like our own.

In solidarity and struggle, with love and rage.

– Climate Justice Montreal

To donate to legal defense please visit the TCMN

Pour tour de Juliet/All July: Climate Justice 101’s

Starting July 10th, every Saturday members of Climate Justice Montreal and representatives from the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition will be facilitating workshops on the fundamentals of Climate Justice.

These interactive, role-play based workshops will serve as a primer for understanding how social justice and climate change intersect.

Some topics we will cover:
– Climate Debt
– the Tar Sands
– Climate Migration
– Indigenous communities, extractive industries and the role of allies
– Real solutions to a changing climate

July 10th, starting at 1:00 p.m.

What is Climate Justice? Making the links, uncovering the roots and building resistance.

July 17th: 11:00 a.m.

LOCALIZE THIS! The Tar Sands, the Trailbreaker and Montreal
we will begin with a short workshop summarizing the Trailbreaker project and how it links into the larger Tar Sands gigaproject, followed by…

STOP THE FLOW OF DESTRUCTION: Tar Sands Free Zone Bike Bloc tour of Montreal. A bike tour highlighting Montreal’s complicity in the destruction, ending in a PARTY AT THE PUMPS! A contingent will leave from Pierce and Maissoneuve at noon!

more info: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/event.php?eid=131087043587855&ref=ts

July 24th: Topic TBD
July 31st: Climate Justice and Gender

++ Point pour le langue: les sessions est dans anglais mais le traduction est possible